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UK police department releases iPhone game, critics compare it to Grand Theft Auto

A U.K. Police department released a free iPhone game yesterday called First Response that allows players to dive around the department headquarters, according to a listing on the iOS App Store.

The game tasks players with competing time trials by maneuvering police cars around a virtual version of Wooton Hall, the Northamptonshire police department's home base. An announcement on the department's website touts the game as "yet another way people across Northamptonshire can get in touch with the [police] force."

The U.K. Daily Mail reports that the game, which an employee in the Corporate Communications department developed in his spare time, reminds some players of Grand Theft Auto. The characterization stands in contrast to the app's goals, as stated by assistant chief constable Martin Jelley on the department's website.

"We are always trying to think of new and innovative ways in which we can engage with members of the public," Jelley said. "The iPhone app is a bit of fun, but also allows people to get in touch with us through our other very popular online channels."